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45 Taliban, 2 soldiers, 5 guards killed

Two Afghan soldiers, five private security guards and up to 45 Taliban insurgents have been killed in series of blasts and firefights in Afghanistan, officials said today.

world Updated: May 16, 2010 01:37 IST

Two Afghan soldiers, five private security guards and up to 45 Taliban insurgents have been killed in series of blasts and firefights in Afghanistan, officials said on Saturday.

The two soldiers were killed and six others were injured in roadside bombings in southern provinces of Zabul, Uruzgan and Helmand on Friday, the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

Also in southern region, Taliban militants attacked a convoy of a private security firm in Ghazni province Friday, killing five security guards, according to the Interior Ministry. Three fuel tankers were torched in the attack, the ministry said in a statement.

Afghan army personnel stationed in the province were deployed to the area and six insurgents were killed in the ensuing battle with the militants, an army statement said. It did not however confirm the death toll among the security guards.

Afghan and NATO troops launched an operation in the northern province of Baghlan Friday, Jawed Basharat, spokesman for the provincial police chief, said.

"Nine insurgents were killed and 11 others were injured during the operation," he told DPA. One police officer and one soldier were injured in the clash in Dana Ghori district.

Taliban fighters and members of Hezbi Islami, another insurgent group fighting the government and NATO forces, operate in the province.

Tribal elder Abdul Matin, from Ahmadzai village, said that one civilian was killed and three were wounded.

Matin said it was not possible to evacuate the wounded to hospital because the fighting was still ongoing. But officials in the region denied that there were any civilian casualties.

In a separate incident in Baghlan province, US special forces killed five senior Taliban commanders, including their self-appointed governor, in a helicopter-led strike on Friday night in Baghlan-e-Markazi, an army commander said.

"Five Taliban commanders, including Maulawi Ruhollah, the Taliban's governor for Baghlan province, were killed in the attack," General Abdul Wakil Hesas, an army commander in the region told DPA.

Taliban militants are active in Baghlan and the neighbouring province of Kunduz. The militant group has appointed "shadow" governors and judicial officials in most of Afghanistan's 34 provinces.

Taliban-led attacks in the two provinces have increased in recent months, prompting countermeasures by NATO-led troops operating there.

In the eastern province of Nangahar, Afghan soldiers backed by NATO troops killed eight suspected Taliban militants in a clash Friday, according to the Defence Ministry.

The clash happened in Surkh Rod district, where nine civilians were killed in a NATO-led operation on Thursday.

Seven other militants were killed Friday in clashes in northern Baghlan, eastern Logar, and southern Kandahar provinces.

The previous night, Afghan and NATO forces killed 10 suspected Taliban militants and detained a rebel commander in Sangin, a district in the southern province of Helmand, Daud Ahmadi, spokesman for the provincial governor said.

Officials said there were no casualties among the combined forces in the operation.

First Published: May 15, 2010 22:50 IST